The first Newspoll of the campaign shows that Labor has added three points to its primary vote, a lift to 37 per cent, which will erase the lead the Liberal National Party had going into the October 31 election. The LNP is one point down on the last poll, also on 37 per cent. After preferences are allocated, Labor is ahead 52-48 per cent two-party preferred, upending the results of the July 31 Newspoll.
Source: Jamie Walker, News Corp
Queensland election: ALP regains poll lead, says Newspoll
This would return Ms Palaszczuk as Premier and possibly increase the government’s tight two-seat majority, setting it up for the shift to a four-year parliamentary term to bring Queensland into line with other states.
But with 12 of the 48 seats it holds vulnerable on margins of less than 4 per cent, Labor’s path to victory remains challenging and a hung parliament — where neither side achieves a majority to govern in its own right — remains a possibility.
Regional factors — such as the support for mining in the central and north Queensland coal belt and the impact of COVID-related border closures on tourism centres such as Cairns and the Whitsunday coast — are likely to break for the LNP.
However, The Weekend Australian’s exclusive Newspoll reflects a poor week for LNP Leader Deb Frecklington, who must find a way to reset her campaign with the clock winding down to election day in just a fortnight.
Scott Morrison will be encouraged by the support for his handling of the pandemic after spending most of the week in Queensland campaigning with Ms Frecklington. The survey of 1001 voters between October 9-14 recorded 76 per cent approval for the Prime Minister’s performance on the virus, basically steady.
If the election turns out to be a referendum on how the Labor government has managed the public health emergency, Ms Palaszczuk is in a strong position, with 76 per giving her the tick for doing well or very well, up eight points in just on a month but short of the 81 per cent rating she posted in July.
The Greens party, which is gunning for inner-city Labor seats including South Brisbane, held by former deputy premier Jackie Trad, is down one point to 11 per cent, while One Nation has slipped two points to 9 per cent. The remaining 6 per cent of the vote is shared mainly by Katter’s Australian Party and Clive Palmer’s United Australia Party.
Campaigning on Friday on the Sunshine Coast, Ms Palaszczuk would not be drawn on where Labor was placed nearing the halfway point of the campaign.
“That’s a matter for Queenslanders,” she said. “But I get up every day and I do my job looking after the people of this great state … we have a very clear economic plan, which is focused on people and getting them into jobs.”
Asked if her message was cutting through, Ms Frecklingon, on the trail in Brisbane’s west, said: “That’s up to the voters of Queensland. I am so pleased with the feedback we are getting about the LNP’s strong economic plan.”
The increase in Labor’s primary vote, from 34 per cent 10 weeks ago to 37 per cent, exceeds by 1.6 points what it polled at the 2017 election and puts the government in the running to push its tally of seats into the 50s, a more comfortable margin.
With pre-poll voting to start on Monday, Labor’s mid-campaign position is crucial as more people than ever before prepare to cast postal and early ballots.
Labor’s four-point lead in the two-party-preferred vote is based on preference flows at the 2017 election, adjusted to reflect the LNP’s move to preference the ALP last this time and the decision by One Nation not to direct votes against sitting MPs.
Pauline Hanson’s party is standing candidates in 90 seats, many more than three years ago, amplifying the plunge in its vote from 13.7 per cent at the last election to 9 per cent. On Newspoll’s numbers, it will struggle to hold its one seat of Mirani in north Queensland.
Ms Frecklington’s approval ratings remain stubbornly low, with more voters dissatisfied than satisfied with her performance — 44-37 per cent, a slight improvement on the July Newspoll — and 19 per cent undecided.
Satisfaction with Ms Palaszczuk is steady on 63 per cent, with 33 per cent unhappy with her and only 4 per cent undecided. Importantly, she has 59 per cent approval outside the state’s populous southeast corner, against Ms Frecklington’s 37 per cent.
The LNP leader made up ground in the better premier comparison, from 26 to 32 per cent, but Ms Palaszczuk retains a commanding lead, with 57 per cent of voters giving her the nod. If she is returned, she will equal the record of reformist Labor premier Wayne Goss in winning three elections on the trot.